Current Courses

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Paleobiological and Phylogenetic Approaches to Macroevolution

Dates: 22-Jul-2014 ~ 29-Jul-2014

This course will teach participants to use fossil and phylogenetic data to analyze macroevolutionary patterns using traditional paleobiological stratigraphic methods, phylogenetic comparative methods and combined fossil and tree approaches. Macroevolutionary research is currently split into two quite isolated branches, one based on fossils and the other on extant taxa and phylogenies. Increasingly,evolutionary biologists in both camps are realizing that, only by combining neontological and paleontological data and approaches, can a new, and more powerful integrative macroevolution emerge. Unfortunately, these two disciplines utilize very different data and quantitative methods. Therefore to truly initiate a synthesis of these two approaches we need to train students and researchers to understand the intricacies of both fossil and phylogenetic data, and the methods necessary to integrate them.

NESCent Academy Course: Phylogenetic Analysis Using RevBayes

Dates: 25-Aug-2014 ~ 29-Aug-2014

This course will provide foundational knowledge in complex models for phylogenetic inference. Our focus will be primarily on Bayesian inference using MCMC. Each component of the course will be accompanied by a hands-on tutorial using cutting-edge phylogenetic inference software. Specifically, we will use this course to introduce and build a user base for RevBayes. RevBayes is a rich statistical package for inference of evolutionary parameters (open source: This program coupled with detailed lectures on phylogenetic theory and applications will provide a rich learning environment for Ph.D. students and postdocs in evolutionary biology.

The NESCent Academy

Starting in 2011, all courses are being offered through the NESCent Academy. The Academy is a new, community-driven process for developing and offering short post-graduate courses in synthetic evolutionary science, as well as evolutionary biology workshops for educators. We asked you, the evolutionary biology community, to suggest course ideas, vote on your ideas and submit full proposals. Here is our list of 2011 courses. The NESCent Academy website has detailed information about instructors, dates and how to apply.

  • Evolutionary quantitative genetics: Steve Arnold and Joe Felsenstein
  • Next-gen sequencing: data acquisition, comparative genomics, design and analysis for population genetics, systematics and development: Brian O'Connor and Alexie Papanicolaou
  • Practical computing for biologists: Steve Haddock and Casey Dunn (co-sponsored by the Bioinformatics Research Center and Department of Genetics at North Carolina State University)
  • Computation phyloinformatics: Rutger Vos, Bill Piel and Christian Zmasek (offered by the Computational Biology Research Center in Tokyo, Japan and co-sponsored by NESCent)
  • Evolution and Medicine (offered by the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and co-sponsored by NESCent)